DIAGEO Pioneers a Generational Change in Drinking Habits in Latest Purpose-Led Campaign

Jason Papp
Founder & Editor-in-chief
December 26, 2023

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LONDON - How do you find this time of year? For some of us, many more than we realise, the dark days, even colder nights, and Q4 wrapping up can take its toll. Heightened anxiety and stress and the added pressure to drink socially can be a toxic cocktail.

At this time of year, The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse says that the “atmosphere often includes alcohol, and despite intentions to moderate, people may end up drinking more than planned, which can exacerbate feelings of stress or lead to unintended consequences.”

There's also a concern for those in recovery from alcohol addiction, as the prevalent drinking culture during the season can pose a relapse risk. 

Being mindful of this, Diageo, the global leader in premium drinks, today has launched a global campaign. Spotlighting the benefits of aspiring to drink in moderation, the makers of Guinness, Smirnoff and Johnny Walker are using their global reach for good. 

The story is told through a hero film which features Guinness, Johnnie Walker, Tanqueray 0.0 and Seedlip, where our host enables guests to experience the "magic moderate drinking," and shows how responsible drinking can take many forms for each individual. 

Tips such as spacing your drinks with water or food, having a non-alcoholic option, or measuring your units to help you keep an eye on how much you drink, are things we can all take into 2024 with us. 

UK charity, Drinkaware shares the benefits of cutting down or drinking moderately,  “A sound night's sleep, brighter skin and improved mood. Cutting back on alcohol can have positive effects on the way you look and feel - often within just a few days.”

Made in partnership with London agency Marmalade Film and Media, the purpose-led global campaign will continue to provide a stream of activity throughout the year. 

Bolstered by OOH including across major London underground stations, it will no doubt provide gentle reminders during key stress triggers - whether that’s the commute home or the last minute dash to the shops. A subtle way the global drinks leader can use to break habits without the din or an at times sterile drink awareness ad, whilst promoting their alcohol-free alternatives; I don’t mind that.  

The campaign will also feature on Diageo social channels, too. It’ll take stage across major markets including Great Britain, North America, China and Brazil, tapping into moments for moderation throughout the year to share the campaign, from local occasions to key sporting events.

Speaking of the launch, Kate Gibson, Global Society Director, Diageo, said: “I love this campaign as it shows that you don’t have to compromise on fun in order to moderate your drinking. This is challenging outdated perceptions.”

Claire Eades, CEO of Marmalade Film and Media, said: “This was a really exciting opportunity for Marmalade to collaborate with Diageo to bring a fresh approach to a traditional responsible drinking campaign. Research has shown that people often don’t want to admit to their friends that they are moderating, so we really wanted to help Diageo to shift behaviour and show that moderate drinking is a positive choice that allows everyone to savour the moment and truly celebrate every occasion.”

And this keeps in step with generations such as Gen Z and their drinking habits. A report  by Statista in September 2023 said “Comparing generations, Gen Z seems to have less of an affinity for alcohol, as our graphic with data from Statista Consumer Insights shows. Only between 18 and 20 percent of Americans of legal drinking age and under 28 years old said they regularly drank beer, wine or spirits.”

And Diageo’s low and no-alcohol can powerfully bridge the gap of conscious drinkers and those who want to change their drinking habits but still enjoy a great tasting cocktail. 

Just take Cannes Lions. Those at the helm of brands now are not in it for the heavy drinking and hangovers - missing out on a Gold Lion is enough of a roller coaster. I’m predicting a very different program layout in the coming years. One Seedlip was already playing a great part in as an non-alcoholic alternative to other beverages given out free during the Cannes Lions 70 this year. 

Why can I say this? Because this is way more than a purpose-led seasonal ad campaign. If Diageo is committed to changing the way the world drinks for the better, they and their partners have the power to alter the consumer’s relationship with drink for generations to come. 

By promoting moderation and addressing the harmful use of alcohol, they are supporting a core pillar of Diageo’s 10-year sustainability plan, Society 2030: Spirit of Progress. This includes an ambition to reach one billion people with messages of moderation by 2030. 

In September, in line with similar campaigns activated around the world, Diageo also delivered a responsible drinking campaign to coincide with university students starting the new academic year, which ran on digital outdoor sites across campuses in England, Scotland and Wales.

Hats off to Diageo for this endeavour and any agency poised to present new innovative ideas to help educate us all on getting the mix right. 

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Jason Papp
Founder & Editor-in-chief